Could dogs be the solution to sniffing out COVID-19? A Miami airport is already putting them to the test

Family Healthcast

FAMILY HEALTHCAST — It could be the next best thing to keeping you healthy when you fly. Dogs at airport security checks.

They’re testing it right now at Miami International Airport, along with weapons and other prohibited items canines are being used dogs to sniff out COVID-19.

Cobra and One Betta are sniffing the face coverings of employees passing through a checkpoint to detect the presence of the virus in sweat, breath and scents due to metabolic changes that the virus causes in the human body. If a dog signals the odor of the virus on a person, that individual will be asked to take a rapid coronavirus test.

The canines’ detections are almost instantaneous and their accuracy rivals traditional coronavirus tests and even some lab equipment. Researchers at Florida International University found the animals achieved 96 to 99% accuracy rates for detecting the virus.

If deployed more widely to sniff out passengers, the dogs may also deter would-be travelers inclined to lie about their coronavirus exposure or infection status.

Though Miami is the first American airport to use dogs to detect the virus, countries such as Finland and the United Arab Emirates began using the dogs last summer.

With 50 times as many smell receptors as humans, dogs have long been used to sniff out not only drugs and explosives but also medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, blood sugar level shifts in people with diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

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